Ek Tha Tiger: Tipeshwar Sanctuary’s 'Veer' returns 'home'

The tiger in question was named 'veer' by regulars to the TWS based on the V-marked stripes on the left just above its right eye. The name was given before it migrated out of the habitat in June 2021.

By S. Harpal Singh  Published on  22 Jun 2023 5:06 AM GMT
Ek Tha Tiger: Tipeshwar Sanctuary’s Veer returns home.

Adilabad: While little is known about all the factors influencing the dispersal of tigers, the one associated with majestic big cats, or their homing instinct to be precise remains shrouded in mystery.

A nearly five-year-old male tiger has become the object of curiosity of wildlife enthusiasts and the management of the Tipeshwar Wildlife Sanctuary (TWS) in the Yavatmal district of Maharashtra as it has returned to the habitat having migrated two years back.

The return of the tiger came to light a few days back when the TWS guides noticed a new tiger having been captured in the camera of a visitor. They copied the image of this tiger and got it identified from the visual database of Adilabad wildlife enthusiasts as that of Veer which had left the Sanctuary two years ago.

"Normally, the dynamics within a Sanctuary or a Tiger Reserve has it that sub-adult tigers move away from their habitat in search of new territory and a proper prey base for themselves. Some of the striped animals which do not travel far away from the habitat come back to it within a few days of their excursion apparently on not finding enough prey which can sustain them," opined Ajinder Singh and Saurabh Agrawal, the wildlife duo from Adilabad who have compiled a visual database on Tipeshwar tigers.

"Though reverse dispersal is not an altogether unknown phenomenon, it is certainly a rare event that a tiger returns to the habitat where it was born after a lapse of two years. Veer, the tiger in question has recorded a rare event," observed a researcher on wildlife behavior not wanting to be named.

The tiger in question was named 'veer' by regulars to the TWS based on the V-marked stripes on the left just above its right eye. The name was given before it migrated out of the habitat in June 2021.

"Veer was born to a Pilkhan female and a Star male in October 2018. That particular litter had two female and two male cubs, the other male being the famous Gabbar which had moved into the forest of Nirmal district last year," Ajinder Singh said recalling the events associated with the birth of the tiger.

"In August that year, the images of the tiger were caught in a camera trap near Darwa which is about 100 km away from the TWS towards its north-west. In January 2022 Veer was videographed while crossing a road near the Pusad-Washim corridor, the location being about 125 km west of the Sanctuary," the wildlifer said.

There was no clue on the movement of this tiger after its subsequent sighting near Arni. This place also forms part of the Pusad-Washim corridor linking Tipeshwar with Katepurna Wildlife Sanctuary in Akola, Maharashtra.

During its two-year sojourn outside the TWS, there tiger was not involved in any direct conflict with humans. There, however, were some instances of cattle kills which surfaced from different places along its route.

The wildlife researcher called it a wonder that the tiger went unnoticed though it was assumed to have spent much time in the functional corridor which encompasses agriculture fields and usually exists beyond the jungle.

Any movement of tigers within and outside the TWS instantly raises the attention of the Forest department in Adilabad in Telangana. The sanctuary is located about 35 km by road from Adilabad district headquarters but is just within walking distance from Penganga River separating the inter-state border near Gollaghat Tamsi.

Tigers from this Sanctuary enter the corridors located in Bheempur, Tamsi, and Talamadugu mandals which eventually lead to the Kawal Tiger Reserve or the forest in the Nirmal district. A tiger from TWS is known to be moving in the forests of Apparaopet in Maharashtra close to Sarangapur Mandal in the Nirmal district.

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